Hepatitis B (cont.)
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Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis B virus.
How hepatitis B is spread
The virus is spread when blood, semen, or vaginal fluids (including menstrual blood) from an infected person enter another person's body. This usually happens through:
In the past, blood transfusions were a common way of spreading hepatitis B. Organ transplants could also spread the disease. Today, all donated blood and organs in the United States are screened for the virus. So it is extremely unlikely that you could become infected from a blood transfusion or an organ transplant.
Contagious and incubation periods
Symptoms appear an average of 60 to 90 days after you have contact with the virus (incubation period). But they can appear as soon as 45 days to as late as 180 days after contact. Blood, semen, and vaginal fluids, whether fresh or dried, are highly contagious during this period and for several weeks after the start of symptoms.
If you have a short-term (acute) infection, you usually can't spread the virus after your body starts making a certain type of hepatitis B antibody. This generally takes several weeks. If you have a long-term (chronic) infection, you are able to spread the virus as long as you have an active infection.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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